Vandoorne gains redemption for Mercedes with Rome E-Prix 2 win

Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne launched himself into the ABB Formula E World Championship drivers’ championship mix with the race win and TAG Heuer Fastest Lap award in Round 4 — second race of the Rome E-Prix doubleheader — after another frantic encounter on the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR street course. Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) bounced back from a disappointing […]

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Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne launched himself into the ABB Formula E World Championship drivers’ championship mix with the race win and TAG Heuer Fastest Lap award in Round 4 — second race of the Rome E-Prix doubleheader — after another frantic encounter on the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR street course.
Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) bounced back from a disappointing Race 1 to fight his way from fourth to the front, holding fast to lead home Alexander Sims (Mahindra Racing), with Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein taking the final podium berth after Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) was penalized for energy overuse — such were the fine margins in the final portion of the race.

Cassidy scores Rome E-Prix 2 poleVergne credits new powertrain, tactics for Rome victoryVergne wins hectic Rome E-Prix Race 1
As in Round 3, Round 4 got going behind the safety car with a few slick patches left around the circuit under the trees after the morning’s wet practice and qualifying sessions.
It was a disastrous start for polesitter Nick Cassidy once the field was released, as the Envision Virgin Racing driver locked up the rear tires and spun at Turn 7, falling to 11th position. He reported to the team that a software glitch had prompted the lock-up.

WHAT A RACE START! We go green in Rome for Round 4 🇮🇹
Live updates here >> https://t.co/sHOKGxvLZW#GivingConfidence #Allianz #RomeEPrix pic.twitter.com/ewLkUIR4uZ
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 11, 2021

Within three laps, though, New Zealander Cassidy was battling back, moving beyond both Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing) and Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) for ninth while race leader Nato had Pascal Wehrlein’s Porsche all over his rear diffuser.
The Frenchman couldn’t hold on long, with Wehrlein snapping out of the slipstream to pinch the lead on Lap 3 and Vandoorne followed immediately with a muscular pass at the Marconi Hairpin. Wehrlein led from Vandoorne, Nato, Maximilian Guenther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport), Sims, Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing), Cassidy, Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams), Nico Mueller (Dragon/Penske Autosport) and Bird.
Cassidy’s recovery reached seventh spot by Lap 4, but Rowland gave the Envision Virgin Racing car a nudge into Turn 14, forcing the Kiwi into the Tecpro barriers and all the way to the back of the pack.
As the first round of Attack Mode power boost activations began to shake out, it looked like Vandoorne had been the big winner. Wehrlein was last of the front-runners to jump and it cost him first spot — the Mercedes man getting the better of the Porsche driver in the battle of the Stuttgart manufacturers.
Heading inside the half-hour plus one lap, contact between Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) in mid-pack resulted in a mess of carbon fiber, the latter accusing the former of a “crazy move” that spun him on the back straight into the wall. A full-course yellow was the result while the Audi was cleared.
When the race went green once again five minutes later, Sims caught Wehrlein napping to steal second spot with Vandoorne scampering five seconds clear of the pair of them, the Belgian using his advantage to use Attack Mode number two.

Here’s the moment @svandoorne claimed victory on the streets of Rome!#RomeEPrix @MercedesEQFE pic.twitter.com/F6LQM6leyo
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 11, 2021

Into the final 20 minutes plus a lap, DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa was also making progress – slicing beyond Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) and Buemi in quick succession for eighth, up from 15th on the grid at the start. Five minutes later, he jumped by Rowland for seventh in the tricky Turn 7 braking zone, although in any case, the Briton was slapped with a 10-second penalty for that earlier move on Cassidy.
The podium positions held station with Vandoorne leading Sims and Wehrlein. Nato held fourth, his teammate Mortara fifth and Guenther sixth. That was, until Lap 17 when Nato slipped up the inside of Wehrlein for a provisional podium — top stuff from the rookie.
With a little over five minutes plus one lap to run, a shunt for Rene Rast as the Audi driver scrapped on the cusp of the points and pushed a little too far meant another appearance this weekend for the Mini Electric Pacesetter safety car.

A bad day at the office for @audisport as @ReneRastRacing crashes out of the race, meaning a double-DNF for the squad.
Live updates here >> https://t.co/sHOKGxvLZW #RomeEPrix pic.twitter.com/Jt8jfl7n7u
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 11, 2021

Leader Vandoorne saw his ample advantage quashed with the pack now backed up. The race became a one-lap dash and the Mercedes led away, using Fanboost as a defense. Behind Vandoorne, Mortara produced the save of the season to hold Guenther off and keep it out of the wall.
Meanwhile, the pre-race championship leader Bird, and the man third in the running, Nyck de Vries, were wiped out in contact as they fought for points on the cusp of the top 10, with Rowland also involved.
Vandoorne held firm to take the checkered flag and redeem his race weekend after falling from pole after contact in Saturday’s race. Sims followed second just 0.6s back, with Nato taking a first Formula E podium on track. A post-race penalty for energy overuse, however, demoted him to 19th, with Wehrlein profiting to fill that final podium berth.
Mortara came home fourth, followed by Guenther, Evans, da Costa, Tom Blomqvist (NIO 333), Mueller and Buemi completed the top 10.
Despite his rough outing, Bird leaves Rome still atop the drivers’ table, with Jaguar teammate Evans four points behind in second spot and Frijns in third, an additional five points back. Vandoorne’s win lifts him to fourth place from 15th.
Jaguar Racing heads the way in the teams’ running, with Mercedes-EQ second and reigning champions DS Techeetah third.
Race 2 of the Rome E-Prix doubleheader airs today on CBS Sports Network beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET.




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